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2-stroke watercraft winterization guide

Here's an expanded version of our winterization list that explains why we do what we do when it comes to winterizing 2-stroke watercrafts. We recommend that all jobs be performed by an experienced or qualified technician.

Step 1: Clean & Prep

First wash the exterior of your watercraft with the same soap you would use on your car. Be sure and scrub as much of the algae and grime off the lower portions of the watercraft, as it will be much more difficult to remove those buildups after it sits all winter long. Next fill the fuel tank with fresh gas (premium no ethanol) and stabilize with the recommended amount of fuel stabilizer. Connect a cold water supply to the flush port usually from a spicket and hose, start the watercraft, open the hose valve so you have about 1/2 flow. This step does 2 things for you: Runs the stabilized fuel through the entire fuel system, and flushes out any leftover lake water still in the system. Run the watercraft for approx. 10 minutes, this is also a good time to check your charging system before battery removal. Be sure to start the engine before turning the water on, and shut the water off before turning the engine off.

Step 2: Check over

Give the watercraft a good check over and make a list of any known issues. Inspect systems such as: cables, steering, reverse, pump & impeller and top off your 2-stroke oil tank. If you are not ready to repair any issues found, at least you'll know about them and can plan for the upcoming riding season.

Step 3: Freeze Proof (for outside storage or storage areas that are not climate controlled)

Freeze proofing will help eliminate the possibility of water freezing and expanding which could damage expensive components on your watercraft. You'll need a piece of hose approx. 2-3 ft long with the male end still attached, a large funnel, RV antifreeze and a 5 gallon bucket. Since this process can get a little messy with antifreeze spilling onto the ground, use RV antifreeze since most brands are considered GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) by the Food and Drug Administration. Connect the hose and funnel to the flush port, set the 5 gallon bucket below the exhaust and pump area to catch the water and antifreeze, start and run the watercraft and pour 1-2 gallons of RV antifreeze through the flush port until you start to see the antifreeze pouring out of the exhaust and pump area. This process mixes with and helps flush out any remaining water in the system to prevent it from freezing during the cold winter months. This process will also need to be repeated in the spring using hose water only so the antifreeze is flushed out and not run into the lake. Some 2-stroke watercraft also require you to remove one or more of the cooling hoses going to the cylinders to fill the cooling ports with RV antifreeze.

Step 4: Compression inspection and engine fogging

The easiest way to fog the bottom end of a 2-stroke engine is to remove the intake cover, start and run the watercraft at about 1/4 throttle and spray a good amount of engine fogging oil down each carb throat. This will coat and protect intake and reed valve components, crankshaft and crank bearings, and some of the spray will make it's way into the cylinders. Remove all spark plugs and document compression readings from each cylinder. Be sure to have the spark plug caps grounded when checking compression. 2-stroke watercrafts are known for starting fires inside the hull. When checking compression gasoline fumes become trapped in and around the hull, if the spark plugs caps are not grounded they could spark and ignite the fumes usually right in front of your face. While the spark plugs are out spray about 1-2 seconds of fogging oil down each spark plug hole. Be sure the straw is securely attached to the nozzle so you don't shoot the straw down the spark plug hole and into the cylinder. Reinstall the old plugs and torque to spec, some prefer to use anti-seize on the threads when installing watercraft spark plugs.

Step 5: Battery service and care

We recommend completely removing the battery for the duration of storage. Some of today's programmable fuel injected watercraft has the tendency to drain a batteries voltage in a matter of weeks because of ECU memory functions, clocks, security systems, etc. Remove the battery, if standard type top off the fluids, clean and grease battery posts and terminals. Charge and test the battery to get an idea of the battery's current health state. We recommend storing the battery up off the ground in a dry, climate controlled area and leaving it connected to a battery tender or use a charger 1-2 times per month.

Step 6: Drying and final storage prep

Take the time to completely dry the outside of the watercraft, used compressed air and blow around tight areas like the handlebars and switch areas. Try and soak up or vacuum any water still inside the hull. Make sure the hull drain ports at the rear of the watercraft are opened and all water is drained out. Last step cover the watercraft and countdown the days until spring. Be sure to check with us for information on watercraft summerization.

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